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Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Saw most of -Gabriel Over The White House- last night on TMC; strange political fantasy w/ Walter Huston as Pres. of US, literally possessed by an (avenging?) angel as he takes quasi-Fascist measures to solve the Depression, somehow managing to achieve world disarmament in the bargain. Made during Hoover administration, not released until FDR's. I feel like I read an essay about it recently, but can't remember where.

Possible future philosophical project: Relation between theories of mind and the question of whether literature has cognitive content. E.g.: On an elim. materialist account, all belief-desire explanations, and thus much of what is found in the trad. psychological novel (Austen, James), however sophisticated, must ultimately be meaningless. Or: On Davidsonian anomolous monism, statements about personal psychology may be literally true, but cannot be instances of general, properly scientific, truths about the world. So novels aren't full of falsehoods, but entirely idiosyncratic, hence uninteresting truths, of no great cognitive value. (Of course, there's going to be a further problem throughout all of this w/ the fact that psychologies in question are those ascribed to fictional characters; I think Daniel Krasner's dissertation may have touched on this.)

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